Class Action Abuse and the MoviesMelancton Smith • Tuesday March 6, 2012 5:48 AM PDT •
I got a chuckle out of the latest class action foolishness to come from the American bar. The Manchester Guardian has this report on the great wrong done to Joshua Thompson and the millions of movie-goers he represents. How has he been wronged?
Thompson says he paid $8 for a Coke and a packet of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts at the Livonia AMC cinema on Boxing Day last year, nearly three times the $2.73 he would have been charged for the same snacks at a nearby fast-food restaurant and drug store.
Rather than simply eating before he goes to the movies or waiting for the picture to come out on DVD, Thompson has resorted to the courts. If movie fans want to put the hurt on the theaters, all they have to do is to stop visiting the concession stands. Theaters make 40 percent of their profits off concessions. The theater will have no choice but to lower prices or close their doors if consumers refuse to pay $8 for Coke and Goobers.
Class actions, while in some cases are great tools to enforce the laws, have become much abused. I can’t tell you how many times I have been sitting around with friends in the plaintiffs’ bar and have heard them plan regular meetings to come up with new class action targets to make some easy money. Class actions are now not so much used to right great wrongs where the individual claims are small, but to enrich the very few who earn legal fees off the work. Thompson’s suit is but the latest example.